The new video for Irish duo We Cut Corners starts as innocently as the children’s ditty it sounds like: a black and white portrait of the lead singer whose face is obscured and revealed by rising and falling waves. Eventually sharks, lightning, and skulls–a reference to the song’s title, “Pirate’s Life”–float in and out of the picture until the bridge, at the 1:30 mark, explodes into a jumbled riot of colorful hand-drawn geometry. And it’s then that you realize that the whole thing was drawn, by hand, with markers.
The video was made by Katarzyna Kijek and Przemysław Adamski, a Polish design duo who have been working together since 2005. They met in high school in Lomza, a city of 60,000 in the northeast of Poland, before studying graphic design together in Gdansk and settling in Warsaw. Their videos rely as much on their tongue-in-cheek sense of humor as on their ample supply of elbow grease: In a live-action video for Royksopp’s “Coming Home,” they used colored smoke against a snowy background to illustrate the band’s brief of “finding peace, sobering up, and staying clean.”
For “Pirate’s Life,” Kijek and Adamski ended up using 91 different markers for the piece. And they even created a “making of” video–featuring a hidden character under a blanket, presumably drawing, surrounding by markers as the daylight turns to night and daylight again–that purports to be a time-lapse document of how long they spent drawing the video. “It’s actually a sort of a joke,” they admit. “How interesting can sitting at the table be?” When asked what the hardest part of the process was, they state the obvious: “The chair.”